Mike Rowe To Teach Michigan Students About Skilled Trades In New Video Series

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Mike Rowe is known for getting dirty. The host of “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” (and formerly of “Dirty Jobs”) is getting behind the camera to engage middle and high school students and show them opportunities in the skilled trades in Michigan.

If you wonder “why the skilled trades, and why Mike Rowe?” here’s a little background for you. The blunt-speaking TV host is also the founder of the mikeroweWorks foundation, which encourages skilled trades across the nation. Michigan currently has a gap of 8,300 unfilled skilled trades jobs, and more are on the horizon as the people currently in those jobs begin to retire.

Skilled trade jobs represent about one-third of Michigan’s employment base.

In partnership with Mike Rowe, six videos will be produced (some already have been) to engage middle and high school students, showing them opportunities within the following industries:

  • Tool & Die
  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology
  • Construction
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Welding

There is local talent as well getting in on the act. Tom Daldin and Under The Radar Michigan will produce five videos aimed toward K-5 students. They will be focused on:

  • Food, agriculture and natural resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Design and art
  • Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and information technology

It’s all possible thanks to a partnership between the hosts and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency.

Mike Rowe at the Mackinac Policy Conference
Mike Rowe at the Mackinac Policy Conference

“Closing the skills gap is not about creating opportunity. It’s about making sure that people understand all of the opportunities that currently exist, said Mike Rowe. “Michigan is doing the right thing by getting the word out, and mikeroweWorks is honored to help.”

If you didn’t know, future talent and addressing perceptions is crucial in the eyes of employers as they will continue to actively seek skilled talent to fill the projected 6,700 skilled trade job openings each year through 2022.

“Industries and employers that rely on skilled trade talent are facing a talent gap,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “This campaign strengthens our efforts to make Michigan the national leader in developing the talent employers are looking for, while providing our students with secure careers and high-paying jobs in growing and innovative industries in Michigan.”

Skilled trade jobs typically require education beyond high school, along with on-the-job training, but not a four-year degree. This includes jobs in health care (lab technicians, dental hygienists), maintenance and repair, public safety, manufacturing (machine operators, welders), and carpentry, plumbing and electrical work. They’re historically looked on less favorably, as the conversation around education as of late typically reinforces an idea that you absolutely must have a four-year degree to succeed.

Snyder at a press conference at the Mackinac Policy Conference talked about how the state has focused almost solely on four-year degree programs, and how that’s exacerbated the gap in the skilled trades sector.

“For the state’s major employers, the talent shortage is real, especially for many skilled trades and technical jobs,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan.

You can find the videos at www.mitalent.org/skilled-trades/ along with information for parents, students and educators about how to find more information and hands-on experience with these careers. We’ve one of the videos below.

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